A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
Go to Home Page


Sub-order 3.—Water Transport Workers

741.—Lock Keepers; Bridge, Stage and Pier Men

Back to List of Occupational Codes

berthing man
directs vessel to berth, allocated by berthing master (731) q.v., at quay or in dock; receives mooring rope thrown from vessel and attaches to bollard or mooring post; removes mooring rope from bollard when vessel leaves quay or dock and throws it to deck seaman (735) q.v.; places fenders between quay and vessels side to prevent damage.
bridge man, bridge house keeper, bridge master ; swingbridge attendant, swingbridge keeper, swingbridge man, swingbridge master
opens and closes swingbridge (for pedestrian and vehicular traffic) over entrance to dock, either by hand or by moving levers in bridge house, to set in motion hydraulic or electric power; signals to oncoming traffic, by hand, when bridge is to be opened for passage of vessels and places chain barrier across roadway, which he removes when bridge has been closed.
bridge man, hydraulic
a bridge man q.v. who opens and closes a swingbridge moved by hydraulic power.
bridge turner, canal
as for bridge man; sometimes done by lock man q.v.
caisson man (dry dock)
controls, by means of a lever, hydraulic or electric power which slides or rolls caisson (a massive watertight barrier) into position at entrance to dry dock, after vessel has passed into dry dock, prior to pumping-out of water; and similarly opens dry dock when vessel is due to leave; oils and greases bearings, runners, levers, etc., of caisson at regular intervals or as required.
capstan man
operates capstan, either by hand (pressing against bar, turning wheel, etc.) or by moving switch or lever, actuating steam engine or electric or hydraulic power; allows capstan to revolve, drawing wagon, boat, etc., by means of chain or rope, until wagon or other vehicle is in desired position; when wagon is to be run on to a turntable, raises turntable bolts or sprags, when wagon is at rest on table, to prevent it running off.; oils and greases capstan and mechanism connected therewith, as required.
keeps bridge, which rises and falls with tide (usually across entrance to a dock, harbour, etc.), clear of mud, sand, silt, etc., with shovel; at high tide, opens bridge (by lever operating hydraulic power) to admit vessels into and out of dock or harbour, and closes it after passage of traffic.
floating bridge conductor
turns windlass, round which draw-chains are wound, to open and close section of floating bridge, as required by traffic; signals, by hand, to oncoming pedestrian or vehicular traffic when bridge is to be opened, and places barriers across roadway, removing same after bridge has been closed.
floodgate keeper, floodgate master ; floodgate attendant, floodgate man, floodgate tender, sluice bridge keeper, sluice bridge master, sluice keeper, sluice master, water runner
has charge of floodgates (sluices) in section of canal or canalised river; turns wheel, actuating cog-wheels on each side of sluice gate, thus raising or lowering gate and admitting water to certain length of canal or river, or shutting-off water therefrom; excessive rainfall, opens or closes floodgates of reservoir supplying water to canal, or sluices leading to back-water or non-canalised section of river, to prevent water-level in canal rising over banks; keeps sluice-gates clear of weeds-with hand rake.
floodgate man, floodgate attendant, floodgate tender ; sluice attendant, sluice bridge attendant, sluice bridge man, sluice man, water runner
(i) see floodgate keeper;
(ii) assists floodgate keeper q.v. when section of canal or canalised river controlled by latter is too large to be controlled by one man.
head stageman
see landing stage mate.
jetty man
has charge of jetty authority's property, and assists generally in work on jetty.
landing stage man, landing stage seaman ; stage man
receives mooring rope thrown to landing stage from approaching vessel; fastens rope to bollard or mooring post and removes again when vessel leaves quay; places gangway in position and withdraws it when vessel leaves; cleans, fills, lights and trims oil lamps used on landing stage; hoists storm cone in bad weather; sometimes fills up spare time by odd jobs, e.g. rope splicing, repairing fenders.
landing stage mate
head stageman, mate of landing stage; takes alternate spells of duty with berthing master (731) q.v. usually being on duty during night; deputises for berthing master on other occasions when absent; is usually present at berthing of large vessels to see that fore and aft mooring ropes are properly made fast; directs and supervises landing stage men q.v.; other duties as for berthing master.
lock keeper, lock gate keeper, lock master
has charge of a lock, and is responsible for its care and upkeep; attends to opening and shutting or lock gates, or directs assistant engaged in so doing; collects dues; acts also as weir keeper q.v. when lock is near a weir.
lock man, lock attendant, lock gate man, lock tender
opens and closes lock gates, under direction of lock keeper q.v.; keeps gates free from weed, etc., oils machinery and assists lock keeper generally, acts also as weir attendant q.v. when lock is near a weir.
mate of landing stage
see landing stage mate.
pier head man, pier man, pier servant
works at head of pier, throwing ropes to incoming vessels, making them fast, placing landing stages in position, and doing other similar work under direction of pier master (731) q.v.
pier ticket examiner
is stationed at head or foot of gangway whereby passengers pass from boat to pier or vice versa; inspects tickets to ensure that they are available on that day and by that boat.
purser on pier
issues tickets to passengers, and performs general clerical duties on steamboat company's pier.
sluice attendant, sluice bridge man, sluice bridge attendant, sluice man
see floodgate man.
sluice bridge keeper, sluice bridge master, sluice keeper, sluice master
see floodgate keeper.
stage man
see landing stage man.
a landing stage man q.v. employed on a "staith" (term used mainly on North East Coast, for landing stage where coal vessels are loaded); in addition to ordinary duties of landing stage man q.v., also sweeps-up coal dust and pieces of coal dropped during coaling operations and wheels them, in truck or barrow, to loading stocks.
stanch attendant, stanch keeper, stanch man, stanch master
a floodgate man q.v. in charge of floodgate which is shut to accumulate water for flashing a boat over a shallow in a stream.
swing bridge attendant, swing bridge keeper, swing bridge man, swing bridge master
see bridge man.
waterman (staithes)
passes to seaman (735) q.v., on vessel, end of hose pipe which supplies vessels with fresh water; turns on watercock, reads meter and makes out bill for water supplied; cf. waterman (738).
water runner
see floodgate man.
weir attendant
assists weir keeper q.v. in opening and closing of sluices in weir, and in clearing gates of weeds; sometimes also executes minor repairs to weir, e.g. removes loose stones and replaces broken stones on face of weir.
weir keeper
is responsible to canal company, river authority, or other authority to whom weir belongs, for maintaining weir in good order; himself executes minor repairs, or directs execution, and reports more serious defects to company or authority; opens and closes sluices on weir; removes weed, rubbish, etc., accumulations from it and from protecting barriers; often also does work of lock keeper q.v.

Back to List of Occupational Codes

From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.